During the daily White House press briefing, Peter Doocy, White House correspondent for Fox News, asked Psaki about a promise President Biden made during the campaign that he would not use the DOJ of the same. manner.
“What has changed since last year when [President Biden] said, “I will not do what former President Trump is doing and use the Justice Department as a vehicle to insist that something has happened,” Doocy asked.
Responding to Doocy’s question, Psaki said the former president used his office to his personal advantage, citing the January 6 insurgency on the U.S. Capitol, as well as putting pressure on DOJ officials. for them to lie about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
“Well, since you are giving me the opportunity here, former President Trump has used his office to incite an insurgency, he has exerted political pressure on senior Justice Department officials to spread lies about the election. to the point where they threatened to quit en masse, ”Psaki replied. .
“I think there is hardly a comparison there,” she continued.
Psaki and Doocy have had a controversial relationship since the Biden administration took office and have clashed over many policies and topics, including immigration and COVID vaccines, among other issues.
Doocy’s question was in response to President Biden’s remarks on Friday in which he said the DOJ should prosecute people who ignored subpoenas from the House special committee investigating the January 6 insurgency.
The chairman told CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins that “I hope the committee will continue. [those people] and hold them accountable. “
Collins then asked President Biden if he thought the DOJ should then prosecute these individuals, to which the President replied “I think so, yes.”
As the president made his views known on the matter, Psaki reiterated that any action taken by the DOJ would be taken in a manner independent of White House interference.
“It would be up to the Department of Justice, and it would be up to them to determine. It’s an independent agency, ”Psaki said at a press briefing on October 8. “They are independent. any decision on criminal proceedings. I would point them out to you and, of course, the committee. “
Psaki did not say whether President Biden had discussed any possible criminal outcome with DOJ officials, including Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Steve Bannon, a prominent member of former President Trump’s cabinet, made headlines earlier in October when he challenged his subpoena from the House Select Committee. The Washington Post said the committee plans to “aggressively enforce” his subpoenas, including that of Bannon.
Additionally, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that the former president’s subpoena was not ruled out.
“If we suddenly summon the former president, we know it’s going to become kind of a circus, so it’s not necessarily something we want to do from the start,” Kinzinger said. “But if he has any pieces of information that we need, we certainly will. “
News week has contacted the White House press office for comment.